Pooch’s Picks: New Haven regional HS football predictions.

WEEK 2 GAME OF THE WEEK

NO. 2 XAVIER (1-0) at NORTH HAVEN (1-0)

NHXavierWhen: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Vanacore Field, North Haven
On the Air: 960WELI, 960WELI.com, iheart radio.
Players to Watch: Xavier: Joe Carbone, Sr., QB; Nate Gonzalez, Sr., WR/DB Andrew Meoli, Sr., RB; North Haven: Mike Halloran, Sr., QB/LB; Mike Montano, So., RB/DB; Ethan Suraci, Sr., RB/LB.
What to look for: Xavier coach Sean Marinan wasn’t thrilled with his team’s 30-22 victory over Staples in Week 1, saying the Falcons were “flat”. Xavier let the Wreckers hang around, and the outcome was closer than it probably should’ve been, especially since the Falcons led by 16 points at one point in the third quarter.

After a likely intense and grueling week of practice, Xavier should be ready to make a statement. The Falcons, which dropped from the top spot in the Register Top 10 Poll, gained 364 yards, with the majority coming on the ground. Meoli rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns, while Carbone scored on an 8-yard run.

Pass defense was a concern for Xavier in Week 1. Staples quarterback Jack Massie completed 19 passes for 232 yards, although the Wreckers trailed throughout the contest and were missing their top running back with an injury.

Expect North Haven, and its single-wing offense, to be a pesky opponent. The Indians rushed for 357 yards in a 42-8 win over Bridgeport Central. Montano led the way with 157 yards, while Suraci carried a team-high 12 times for 57 yards and two scores.

North Haven, though, is capable of throwing the ball, maybe more so than in year’s past. The big issue is whether or not North Haven can contain Xavier’s bigger and faster skill players. This game should be competitive, and one of the best of the weekend.
Pooch’s pick: Xavier.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

  • Foran (1-0) at West Haven (0-1), 4 p.m.: A rare late afternoon game at Ken Strong Stadium. How will the Westies perform, not only during the day but after losing a heartbreaker to Greenwich last week? Pooch’s pick: West Haven.
  • Law (0-1) at Wilbur Cross (0-1), 4 p.m.: Law lost last week to a Harding team that is still progressing, while the Governors were defeated by an experienced Ridgefield squad. Pooch’s pick: Wilbur Cross.
  • Platt Tech (0-1) at Cheney Tech (1-0), 6 p.m.: After losing to Capital/Classical/Achievement in Week 1, Platt Tech faces Cheney Tech this week and Prince Tech next week. Those three opponents are expected to all vie for the CSC title. Better luck in Week 4, Platt Tech. Pooch’s pick:Cheney Tech.
  • No. 7 St. Joseph (1-0) at Fairfield Prep (1-0), 6 p.m.: This is a clash between St. Joe’s offense and the Jesuits’ defense. Pooch’s pick: St. Joseph.
  • Coginchaug (1-0) at Valley Regional/Old Lyme (1-0), 6:30 p.m.: Valley Regional/Old Lyme’s Phil Cohen passed for 147 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Hyde. Pooch’s pick: Valley Regional/Old Lyme.
  • Crosby (0-1) at Woodland (1-0), 6:30 p.m.: Tanner Kingsley shredded SCC member Branford for 227 yards and five touchdowns in a 46-19 victory last week. Pooch’s pick:Woodland.
  • No. 1 Ansonia (1-0) at Sacred Heart (0-1), 7 p.m.: Wolcott scored 61 points on Sacred Heart last week. So, that means Ansonia will score 71? 81? Pooch’s pick: Ansonia.
  • East Haven (1-0) at Hamden (1-0), 7 p.m.: Yes, one game at a time but imagine if Hamden goes to 2-0, especially with Xavier coming to town next week? Pooch’s pick: Hamden.
  • Guilford (0-1) at Shelton (1-0), 7 p.m.: Tough luck for Guilford. A week after losing by one point to Wilton, the Indians have to travel to a very strong Shelton squad. Pooch’s pick: Shelton.
  • Hand (0-1) vs. Hillhouse (0-1), 6:30 p.m. at Veterans Field, West Haven: The defending Class L champion (Hand) versus the defending Class M champion (Hillhouse). One will be 0-2 after this contest. Pooch’s pick: Hand.
  • Holy Cross (1-0) at Derby (1-0), 7 p.m.: Holy Cross’ defense is pretty good; Derby’s isn’t. Not sure, though, if Holy Cross can contain the Red Raiders, who rallied from an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter against St. Paul, and their explosive offense. However, Derby receiver Jordan LaRue (calf injury) and running back Tyrae Small (ejected versus St. Paul, forced to miss one game) will not play. Pooch’s pick: Derby.
  • Immaculate (0-1) at Bunnell (0-1), 7 p.m.: Bunnell’s skill players will be too much for the Mustangs to handle. Pooch’s pick: Bunnell.
  • Kennedy (0-1) at Seymour (0-1), 7 p.m.: Seymour battled Class LL and SCC member Amity tough before falling short. Expect another strong outing from Joey Salemme (228 yards, three touchdowns in Week 1) and the Wildcats’ running game. Pooch’s pick: Seymour.
  • Lyman Hall (0-1) at Cheshire (0-1), 7 p.m.: Lyman Hall has lost 11 games in a row. Rob Marone still searching for his first win as the Trojans’ coach. Again, that might have to wait another week. Pooch’s pick: Cheshire.
  • Notre Dame-West Haven (0-1) at Branford (0-1), 7 p.m.: Just don’t see away way Branford contains ND running back Cam Tucker. Pooch’s pick: Notre Dame-West Haven.
  • Oxford (1-0) at New Fairfield (1-0), 7 p.m.: Oxford will make a push for a state playoff berth this season. Pooch’s pick: Oxford.
  • Sheehan (1-0) at Amity (1-0), 7 p.m.: The safe pick is Amity. But Class S Seymour hung with the Spartans before coming up just short last week. Sheehan has better skill players than the Wildcats, and that could be the difference here. Unless Amity pushes around the smaller Titans. Not an easy one to pick. Pooch’s pick: Sheehan.
  • Wolcott (1-0) at Naugatuck (1-0), 7 p.m.: Could be one of the more interesting games of the weekend. Wolcott rushed for 367 yards and seven touchdowns in a win over Sacred Heart, while Naugy QB Jason Bradley passed for 245 and three scores in a victory over Crosby. Pooch’s pick: Naugatuck.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

  • Old Saybrook/Westbrook (1-0) vs. Hyde (0-1) at Wilbur Cross, noon: Hyde is better than its 34-0 loss to Valley Regional/Old Lyme last week. Pooch’s pick: Hyde.
  • Haddam-Killingworth (0-1) at Nonnewaug (1-0), 1 p.m.: H-K still looking for its first points of the season after being shutout by North Branford last week. Pooch’s Pick: Haddam-Killingworth.
  • Morgan (1-0) at Housatonic/Wamogo (0-1), 1 p.m.: Many Pequot Conference insiders believe Morgan could vie for a playoff spot this year. Pooch’s pick: Morgan.
  • North Branford (1-0) at Ellington/Somers (1-0), 1 p.m.: North Branford’s Josh Melaccio rushed for 171 yards and four touchdowns on just 10 carries in a victory over H-K in Week 1. Pooch’s pick: Ellington/Somers.
  • Weston (0-1) at Stratford (1-0), 1:30 p.m.: Weston, a playoff team last season, could win its next four games before getting into the meat of its schedule.Pooch’s pick: Weston.

Pooch’s Picks — Last Week: 24-7. Season: 24-7.

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